Cypripediums of British Columbia

Busy day today, so only a short entry to continue the series on biodiversity of the Pacific Northwest.

All of these species have previously been featured on Botany Photo of the Day, so I invite you to see those write-ups: Cypripedium parviflorum (yellow lady’s slipper), Cypripedium montanum (mountain lady’s slipper), and Cypripedium passerinum (sparrow’s egg lady’s slipper). I thought this might be a comprehensive posting of the species of Cypripedium in British Columbia, but the E-Flora BC page for Cypripedium montanum makes mention of a naturally-occurring hybrid between Cypripedium montanum and Cypripedium parviflorum which I’ve never seen (and there is also the small matter of the two varieties of yellow lady’s slipper occurring in the province, variety makasin and variety pubescens). Still, it’s a reasonable visual representation of the diversity of Cypripedium in the province.

A small story on the Cypripedium passerinum: I was hoping to see this species during my recent trip to Pink Mountain in northeastern BC, but the locale I knew for it was an additional 6 hours of driving one way (i.e., too much). So, researching locations along the way to Pink Mountain via the UBC Herbarium‘s database, I discovered two collection records from the 1960s in locations we’d be traveling by. Looking for these populations of plants along the way, we found the first with only two plants remaining and the other with a healthy population of plants in the dozens. There’s more to the story about using old herbarium records to find plants fifty years later, but I’ll be writing it up for the Native Plant Society of BC’s newsletter, Menziesia — I’ll see if I can make a copy of the article available on the botanical garden web site once it’s written.

E-Flora BC has a page on the orchids of British Columbia, with additional resources.

Cypripedium parviflorum
Cypripedium passerinum
Cypripedium montanum

12 responses to “Cypripediums of British Columbia”

  1. linda miller

    These are so beautiful and I look forward to your artticle. Linda

  2. MsWinterfinch

    Simply awe-inspiring photos and flowers right down to their hairy stems. Whatever effort you went through to find them was fully worth it. Well done!
    I, too, look forward to your report.

  3. Eric in SF

    Ron Parsons and Mary Gerritsen used herbarium records to locate populations of Calochortus for their book. Many of the plants were still there many decades later!
    I love the montanum shot.

  4. Kathleen Garness

    Have spent many a day in herbariums researching Morton Arboretum’s botanist Floyd Swink’s notes on Illinois native orchids. I can’t tell you how many he had later gone back to with the notation “Site destroyed”. : (
    So what happy news that these populations were still intact!! : )

  5. Dr R K S Rathore

    Wonderful! This is the real spirit of searching native plants of BC. It reminds me of my 48 hours boat Journey to Great Nicobar to find a terrestrial orchid Eulophia nicobarica. The plants of that population are still with me at Agra. I wish to send you the photograph of the same.

  6. Daniel Mosquin

    Dr. Rathore, sure, send me a photograph or two — you should have my email address from the email notification or just click on my name in the comments.

  7. luise h.

    I so love these.How wonderful that these treasures survive.

  8. CherriesWalks

    Sometimes you have to hike to see untainted nature!

  9. Barbara

    Thank you for your beautiful photographs. I often use them to both create a changing screen saver display and as a seasonal theme on my desktop(I’m particularly fond of photos of specimens that can be found in eastern US, where I grew up). This morning it had to be Cypripedium montanum.
    I get a lot of positive comments about the beautiful photos.

  10. Gawinwagges

    Amusing state of affairs

  11. elizabeth a airhart

    linnaeus named cypripedium from cyprus
    birthplace 0f aphrodite from pedilum for
    shoe or foot
    the lovely ladies of our world
    perhaps the bee orchid might be of
    interest some bot a day
    thank you for the time you can give us daniel

  12. Ron B

    Lumbering and road building are major threats. Even where patches are not directly destroyed by bulldozers the improved access results in herbivores ranging from rodents to elk getting at the plants.

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